Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 3 -- Viva Las Vegas

Searching for rhyme or reason this early in the Sprint Cup season is a futile pursuit. Daytona is its own phenomenon being one of four restrictor plate races, the twin 125 qualifying races, and all the build up that goes into being the first race. With the revised schedule, the tour hit the real world in Phoenix and is now continuing its early western tour in Las Vegas. If practice and qualifying tell the tale, last week’s race did little to la the ground for this week. In Vegas, the Fords rule. They own the first two rows and half the top ten starting fleet. Ryan Newman drives the highest Chevrolet in 8th, but lurking just below the top 10, there’s a whole lot of Chevy muscle.

Here’s how they line up;

1- Matt Kenseth, #17, Ford
2- Marcos Ambrose, #9, Ford
3- Carl Edwards, #99, Ford
4- Greg Biffle,#16, Ford
5- Kyle Busch, #18, Toyota
6- Joey Logano, #20, Toyota
7- A.J. Allmendinger, #43, Ford
8- Ryan Newman, #39, Chevrolet
9- Martin Truex, Jr., #56, Toyota
10- Mark Martin, #5, Chevrolet
11- Jamie McMurray, #1, Chevrolet
12- Regan Smith, #78, Chevrolet
13- Jeff Gordon, #24, Chevrolet
14- Jimmie Johnson, #48, Chevrolet
15- Tony Stewart, #14, Chevrolet

As we look at some of the less fortunate drivers, history shows no Las Vegas winner has ever come from outside the top 25. With this in mind, Brad Keselowski drives the highest starting Dodge in 20th position. The early season struggles of Richard Childress Racing who had so much positive attention at the start of the season continues with their drivers lining up with Paul Menard in 18th, Jeff Burton in 21st, Kevin Harvick in 26th and Clint Bowyer in 28th. The RCR four will have to pick things up with a little Vegas fortune before returning east. The elder Busch, Kurt, #2 in points starts in 22nd in the 22 car

Now for the tough stuff, the #87 car showed up with no sponsorship but qualified 31st; the #36 Tommy Baldwin Chevrolet starts 34th, the #66 Phil Parsons/Brian Humphrey Toyota starts 38th. Does anyone expect Joe Nemechek, Dave Blaney, and Michael McDowell to be anywhere to be found after the first pit stop? There are some other rides that could lay down and quit too. Brian Keselowski was sent home from qualifying, a start up team struggling to make races but they were fortunate to find MGM Grand sponsorship. How can NASCAR claim any kind of integrity on this issue when they allow teams to show up unequipped to compete to earn starting positions bump cars that are and add further hurt to legit contenders who might have an early race problem as Kevin Harvick did last week? We’re sick and tired of hearing the Waltrip boys and Larry McReynolds make excuses for these slugs as there might be a little conflict of interest since Fox employs Phil Parsons to cover truck races on Speed TV. We maintain our vigil and hope other NASCAR fans share our outrage. There is nothing magic about having 43 cars to start the race. The truck series and the Indy 500 go in to competition with fewer rides and nobody’s complaining there. Before 1997, there were numerous races on the schedule with reduced fields. LET’S GET WITH IT NASCAR. If Nemechek, Baldwin, and Parsons can’t afford to afford pit crew members, tires, and all that’s required to compete, GET LOST, GO HOME!!!!

NASCAR changed its points system because it was in part, hard to explain. Hard to explain is how teams can be allowed to enter an event without meeting the requirements to compete in the event. NASCAR’s attendance and TV viewership are plunging. We can explain fewer fans attending races in part due to the economy and high fuel costs. However, if a fan is going to spend $50 to $100 for a race ticket, his or her hard earned money, isn’t it an insult to see teams showing up that aren’t willing to work for their living showing up without the prerequisites to complete a race. Tolerating this is an insult to fans and a rip off. The purse money going to these parasites should be either divided and deducted from the ticket price or divided among REAL competitors.

Nemechek seems capable of being a very capable driver on the Nationwide Tour. Perhaps that’s where he belongs. The Tommy Baldwin and Parsons/Humphrey operations are just pure rip-offs from the words “start your engines.”

Come on fans, let’s make some noise!!!


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